Folks, I recently mentioned to someone that I frequently quench my thirst from a garden hose and, judging from their reaction, I think what I actually said was, “I regularly scoop toilet water into my mouth.”
Actually, let the record show that I have often slurped from faucets in toilets, but only after carefully washing my hands; honestly!
Still, it seems that admitting you drink water from a public tap these days gives you about the same social prestige as someone meticulously picking their nose on a crowded bus.
As a young fella, I never carried a water bottle, or come to think of it, food, money, a watch or a phone. Whenever I got thirsty I’d simply head for the nearest tap, either in a park, shop or someone’s yard. I often drank from freshwater creeks – after thoroughly checking that I was upstream of any sewerage treatment plants or cows relieving themselves; boy, you’ll only make those mistakes once!
I’ve regularly swigged from galvanised iron rainwater tanks (one of which turned out to be full of moss, tadpoles, green frogs and the skeleton of a long dead pigeon), and it hasn’t done me any harm… I hope.
Nowadays, even I’m not crazy enough to drink water from a creek within coo-ee of a town, but I’ll happily slake my thirst from any spout attached to a copper pipe, connected to a government-regulated, water treatment plant.
Yes, the water has chemicals in it, usually added by council’s finest (or the cheapest contractor the council could hire), but this ensures that nasty little bugs like cholera, typhoid and dysentery don’t regularly ruin our weekends.
Sadly, ad companies have drip fed the Australian public into believing that ‘Bottled is Better’ by implying that tap water is about as safe to drink as a Fukushima shandy. Which is why the Bottled Water Brigade would prefer to stagger around parched and gasping rather than drink from a public water fountain.
Look, at least our tap water isn’t recycled like it is in some countries. Ugh! Just imagine, drinking water that’s been through a toilet?!